Condom-machine ordinance struck down by Boston judge


BOSTON -- A judge has struck down a Boston ordinanc requiring most businesses that serve alcohol to have condom vending machines on their premises.

Judge Harold Flannery, in a ruling Monday from Suffolk Superior Court, concluded the City Council overstepped its powers when it passed the law in December, over Mayor Raymond Flynn's veto.

In passing the ordinance, the City Council declared a public health emergency existed and the law was intended to fight the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS.

The ordinance required businesses with alcohol licenses and a capacity of more than 100 patrons to have condom vending machines installed, as a condition of obtaining or keeping their entertainment licenses.

In his eight-page decision, Judge Flannery said, the state Legislature has vested "exclusive power" in the mayor to issue and impose conditions on entertainment licenses under state law.

The ordinance had been challenged in a lawsuit brought by the Massachusetts Restaurant Association. City Councilor David Scondras, a key proponent of the condom-machine ordinance, said the ruling will not be appealed.

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